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Chilblains

chilblainsChilblains are patches of red, swollen and itchy skin often caused by cold weather and sometimes exacerbated by poor circulation. 

 

Extremities such as the toes, fingers, nose and ear lobes are   most at risk. Prevention strategies include keeping the whole body warm, and exercising regularly to improve peripheral circulation. Elderly or sedentary people, and those with conditions such as anaemia, are most susceptible to developing chilblains.

The little toe is more likely to develop chilblains than the other toes. Common symptoms include:

·           A burning sensation on the skin
  ·         Red, swollen patches
  ·         Intense itching
  ·         Dry skin, leading to splits and cracks
  ·         Possible secondary infection
  ·         Ulceration, in severe cases

 

The symptoms of chilblains are intensified with sudden temperature changes, for example,   entering a warm house after being outside in the cold. Similarly, heating cold feet too quickly, such as propping them next to a heater or using a hot water bottle, will also exacerbate the condition. It is better to concentrate on warming your whole body instead.

Treating chilblains at home

  ·         Resist the urge to scratch, as this will further damage the skin
  ·         Use McGloins (we are stockists) to soothe the itching and improve circulation in the area
  ·         Lanolin or similar rubbed into the feet will help retain body heat
  ·         Wear woolen or cotton socks
  ·         Keep your whole body warm
  ·         Gentle exercise will improve circulation to your feet.

 

A qualified podiatrist can treat your chilblains and offer advice on prevention. If you have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, see your doctor if your chilblains ulcerate.